Friday, January 23, 2015

To Some in California, Founder of Church Missions Is Far From Saint

By Carol Pogash
A statue of the Rev. Junipero Serra in a cemetery in San Francisco’s Mission Dolores. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times
CALIFORNIA---Last week, Pope Francis announced plans to canonize Father Serra, putting “the evangelizer of the West in the United States” closer to sainthood. These days, the pious preacher who once walked much of what is now California, bringing Christianity to the American Indians, is viewed in less benevolent terms. Prominent Native Americans see Father Serra as far from saintly. Their reaction is as visceral as a dispute over occupied territory in the Middle East. Indian historians and authors blame Father Serra for the suppression of their culture and the premature deaths at the missions of thousands of their ancestors. [link]